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Useful Tropical Plants

Calamus scipionum

Lour.

Arecaceae

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Rotan Semambu

Calamus scipionum
Botanical specimens of the plant
Photograph by: O. Beccari; Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta, vol. 11: t. 2 (1906)
Creative Commons License
Calamus scipionum Calamus scipionum Calamus scipionum

General Information

Rotan semambu is a spiny, evergreen, climbing palm producing a cluster of massive, unbranched stems that can climb to great heights in the forest. Some stems can reach lengths of 50 metres or more and 15 - 50mm in diameter with internodes 30cm long[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.
,
1018
Title
A Field Guide to Philippine Rattans
Publication
Asia Life Sciences Supplement 5
Author
Aida C. Baja-Lapis
Publisher
Rushing Water Publishers Ltd; Philippines
Year
2010
ISBN
0117-3375
Description
A very useful book with concise information on the various rattan species that grow in the Philippines
].
The stems have long been harvested from the wild by local people, who use them to make baskets and a range of other household goods. This species is said to make an excellent walking stick and has been traded internationally as such[
983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.
]. International interest in rattan has seen exploitation of the plant increase and the stems are now traded both nationally and internationally[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. This species is unlikely to attract much attention for commercial growing in plantations - compared with several other species, its growth rates are poor and the canes are of lower quality[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.

Range

Southeast Asia - Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo and Palawan.

Habitat

A widespread lowland species rarely occurring above 200 metres[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It appears to favour better soils such as alluvial soils in the floodplains of rivers[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It is very tolerant of forest clearance, and is often found in secondary forest[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Climber
Height40.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the lowland moist tropics[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Grows best in fertile soils, such as the alluvial soils of river floodplains[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Prefers a position in the dappled shade of the forest, allowing its stems to climb up to the light[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. High light intensity accelerates the formation of sucker shoots and stem-length growth[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
After planting the young plants in their permanent positions, little maintenance is required, apart from initial weeding, and where necessary, opening the canopy sufficiently to allow light to reach the seedlings[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Growth rates are poor compared to several other species of rattan[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. The mean stem growth is 0.1 metres per year, and optimum growth is 1 metre per year[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
It is not known at what age the cane could be harvested but it is unlikely to be less than 15 years after planting and probably longer than that because of slow initial growth[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Rotan semambu is a very distinctive species, likely to be confused only with C. Ornatus. Both are very similar in the rosette stage, but the climbing stems of this plant have large terminal leaflets (ecirrate) whereas C. Ornatus has minute terminal leaflets (subcirrate)[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. In inflorescence structure they are very different, and the seedling-leaf of Calamus scipionum has 4 rather than 2 leaflets[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Edible Uses

Young apical bud - cooked[
892
Title
Indigenous Edible Plants of Sabah
Publication
Forest Research Centre Publication No. 25
Author
Lee Y.F. & Gibot A.
Publisher
Forest Research Centre; Sabah, Malaysia.
Year
1986
ISBN
 
Description
A list of native edible plants in Sabah, Malaysia.
]. Delicious[
892
Title
Indigenous Edible Plants of Sabah
Publication
Forest Research Centre Publication No. 25
Author
Lee Y.F. & Gibot A.
Publisher
Forest Research Centre; Sabah, Malaysia.
Year
1986
ISBN
 
Description
A list of native edible plants in Sabah, Malaysia.
].
Although we have no further specific information for this species, many members of this genus have potentially edible young shoots. Indeed, in Laos the shoots are considered to be a delicacy and over half the species growing there are said to be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The top 100cm of the plant is used. If the leaf sheaths are left in place until just before cooking then the shoot will remain fresh for up to one week[
984
Title
Speciality Rattans of the ASEAN
Publication
Blumea 54, pp 39 - 43
Author
A. C. Baja-Lapis
Website
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/nhn/blumea
Publisher
National Herbarium, Nederland.
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
A description of the uses and agricultural practices for 11 selected species of rattan.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The stems are used for making furniture of moderate quality[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Stems with long internodes are valued for making walking sticks, umbrella handles, etc[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. This species is said to make a walking stick of excellent quality and beauty[
983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.
].
The long and slender stems of Calamus species are put to various uses according to their size, length, flexibility, elasticity and toughness. The most slender canes are employed entire for binding purposes, and in making chairs, blinds, mats, wicker or basketwork, fishing implements, etc. Twisted together, they make very strong cables. The largest and more resistent canes are used entire as cables, the framework of wicker chairs etc. Usually, however, for many purposes the stems are split throughout their length into 2 - 4 or more strips from which the inner soft brittle and spongy portion is removed by means of a knife or same other instrument, so as to leave the external portion, which is hard, tough, flexible, elastic and has its outer surface very clean and smooth as if it had been varnished[
983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.
].
Strips vary in width according to the use to which they are to be put. Those for delicate work, such as the network of furniture, small bags, hats, etc, are from 1 - 3mm wide; those employed as lashings in native housebuilding or in fastening the removable head of the Malay axe to its handle are from 5-6 mm wide[
983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.
].
Collecting and preparing the stems is very simple. The stem is cut near the ground and detached from the trees by taking a strong hold of its base and thus pulling down the entire plant with its leaves. The most recent growth at the top of the plant is removed and then, handling it from the upper end, the stem is forcibly drawn in the opposite direction between two pieces of wood, thus removing the spiny coverings. It is then cut into lengths of about 5 metres, each piece is bent into two equal parts and the stems are fastened into bundles ready for market. The most valued stems are not thicker than a man's little finger and have a fine polished straw-yellow glassy surface[
983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown fresh as stored seed soon loses its viability. Germination begins 4 weeks after sowing, but may take up to 27 weeks. Germination rates are variable, ranging from 30 - 66%[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2024-07-23. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Calamus+scipionum>

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